R. Gerry Fabian is a retired English instructor. He has been publishing poetry since 1972 in various poetry magazines.
His web page is https://rgerryfabian.wordpress.com He is the editor of Raw Dog Press https://rawdogpress.wordpress.com
His novels, Memphis Masquerade , Getting Lucky (The Story) and published poetry book, Parallels are available at Smashwords and all other ebook stores.
I have been
the forbidden hours.
Very few go there;
I have been there
more than once.
I do not regret it.
I will go back,
All the ingredients
onions, celery, carrots
cut and cubed;
flour, butter and cream
thick and smooth.
yet never boiled.
The only item
so you may shape
that are YOU
into the smiles
as their own.
the tight packages
that go beyond
Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. Her poem 'A Rose For Gaza' was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition 2014. This and many other poems, have been widely published, in recent anthologies such as - ‘Alice In Wonderland’ by Silver Birch Press, ‘The Border Crossed Us’ from Vagabond Press and ‘Selfhood’ from Trancendence Zero - and journals such as Apogee, Firewords Quarterly, Indie Soleil, Midnight Circus and Snapdragon as well as many other online and print publications.
Find Lynn at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lynn-White-Poetry/1603675983213077?fref=ts and lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com
I am being suffocated by this society,
pushed into a corner until
I can't breath any more.
Pressed up against
the other screamers,
the can't breathers.
I am not being suffocated under
the weight of immigration.
Or even the armlocks and bullets
of police out of control.
No, I am being suffocated by
the vile venom of normality
or what has come
to pass for it.
What will it take
for us to learn
how to distort
how to smother
The Driving Instructor
I needed rather a lot of driving lessons.
My lack of a sense of direction didn’t help.
Nor, did my occasional confusion
between right and left.
But, coming up to my test,
my new instructor was sympathetic.
We could go for a Sunday drive, he said.
I could have a free lesson
and maybe a drink after.
Well, why not?
He told me a story over the drink.
He’d been in the war in Singapore.
And conscripts all.
In the chaos
an enemy soldier had shot his dog.
And conscripts all.
But, it was alright in the end,
he’d ‘got’ the one who did it.
And conscripts all.
The life of a man for the life of a dog.
It was the life of the man I valued most.
And I said so
using a lot of words.
Yes, rather a lot of words
So no more free lessons,
but I passed my test.
First published in Silver Birch Press, Learning To Drive Series, May 2016
It’s a long and desolate road.
I think it’s always been so.
Such a desolate road to travel
before I see the brightness ahead,
the light after desolation
reflected in the water of the lake,
And the wire fence is no barrier
to this vision of my future brightness.
And the gate looks open
ready to welcome me through.
Sometimes a gate has seemed closed,
only to open with a degree of pressure
to allow me through.
Sometimes it has stayed closed
set firmly against me.
But this one is seems open,
or partly open,
to my passing.
But as I draw closer
I can see the chain
and the padlock.
Open so far,
but no further.
I can go so far,
but no further
along the desolate road.
So far, but no further
towards the light
unless I climb.
Give Me A Hand
to give me a hand
to paint the man red.
They thought the town
would be next,
but they were mistaken.
The background was to be in
a different palette,
darker, more sombre.
I asked them to wear gloves.
That way I knew I could
preserve their memory like
the long dried up palette,
peeling their outer skin
like the gloves.
Like the gloves,
I hung them all
out to dry.
Sarah Kersey is a poet, musician, and x-ray tech from New Jersey, USA. Her work has appeared in Verse Magazine, Thistle Magazine, Columbia Journal (online), and other publications.
It’s the kind of blood-borne wish that meddles with loss
I want a little of me in a faraway brother
Like my estranged sister has all of me, a toss-
away grief that will not decay or rot.
My tears are bitter, but I want to be better.
I need to pour over him the love I wrought
Out of the reassuring squeeze of a letter
Confirming paternity, shed tears over missed years,
Newly drying sheets of a bed wetter.
He is my younger self,
Having a glow that some young men possess
Yet choose to forget the compliments they felt…
so down to earth. At my sister’s death, it will be ever more apparent
That decomposition took its foothold above ground
The worms would just finish her off transparent.
Our youth dethrones us too soon. We’ve wound
Up with an aging sensibility.
I won’t let that happen to him; though dumbfounded,
Betrayed by a new moon
Not casting its brightest light.
Dismayed when day looms.
Once, my sister drove the two of us home
From the Residence Inn
After a seven month tome.
No longer displaced my legs
Splayed out on her dashboard like a spider
Protecting its space and its baby eggs.
Now I will be the protector of his space.
I will poison the scorned queens,
Court jesters, and benign neglectors that would erase
his worth. My will is sheer as silk.
My ties are the dependent clauses of a web.
I am not an easy split.
None of this will ebb
the shock, I know that
it will follow him to bed
tonight. And when I go to sleep on my mattress’ slight
Dip down from where my lumbar spine should begin
I recall my sister’s mattress might
not have been flipped in over two years, her firmness fetters
Her humanity. I am across
The room where a sinner pays a debtor
But they’re both broke.
If I could take her to the mat,
Wrestle her back into my life again, have my forgiveness resound
as a throbbing heart after combat
Frozen and thawed to the limit
In my longing for a younger brother
Stamping a staple thread
Edits in pen still fuming mother
Beseeching God that no more court motions by father.
I know he fled to him to hide him
Than responsibility could ripple.
He tracked muddy judgments and cowardly ways.
I am brittle
For paternity to churn the little
left of civil.
“Tears on the Floor”
I watched my mother cry so heavily,
not as drops of blood before sacrificing herself, but
so her tears hit the floor,
one salty tip
at a time.
One feeble foot glided a sheet of quilted Bounty
over placid tile.
Through tired teeth and
wrung tongue in her mouth, she said
tears on the floor could be a poem, and she knows
poems don't have to rhyme
because her two children don’t.
She is no more of a poet than
a totem pole portending doom
to its sculpture, since
pupils can predict an apoplectic future.
Her bosom sucked children that nursed a grudge
and grew like hunger baring distended cores
which can't be discarded.
Tears on the floor are due drops in mourning
grilling the sun with an agnostic reflection.
Years from where they’ve been,
her children still remember the straits of being anxious
coiled springs corkscrewing a smile right
down to the studs. Holes in their long bones,
decay in their vertebrae;
What can be said of a crumbling constitution?
A sinking second floor?
A leaky pitched roof?
An arsenal of weapons
such as a phallic switchblade affixed to
the hand, detaching, removing?
An astigmatic omnipotence?
What cannot be seen is
slipping strength dissolved into
tears…on the floor…and no
one will fall on their account.
Tears---on the floor---are
frenetically bloating to preserve
life, shedding and abandoning a sinking ship.
Our mother prides herself on
our home’s dry basement.
French drains frame the perimeter
and sip on my errant tears.
Drops meddle, fester, and
muddy beneath the foundation.
Then, they evaporate, condense,
precipitate a violent fall
that shakes the totem pole from sleep.
Even if gravity exerts its gratuitous influence,
what a way for a swimming pool to suspend fear;
what newborn bravery.
“On the Only Island”
(When listening to “Sumiglia” by A Filetta)
In Corsica, “Sumiglia” is personality.
A Filetta is a fern.
Flickering taut cords
timid strides shy vibratos and vocal strokes
squinting with the lilt of morning.
I want my people live
I want them fervent and rising
I want them conjuring
colors like a blind infinity
inside a muted trumpet.
Floating mercury, listing
regaining balance from counter-lean,
one foot basking while treading its shadow,
the other insubordinate foot
trades love for indifference.
Men sing paghjella, a polyphony propre,
I want my people rich in their poverty,
identifiable in their assimilation.
It’s a sore mouth,
lacerated tongue splitting sound reasoning
through conflicting accents.
A fleck’s odyssey away from l’ile seul,
an only island.
Your command in familiarity
with custom color, yours and mine.
My hope for us, the color
of well-watered clay
of off keys and
is raised organized voices.
You are not silenced when
hand is over ear
like a shell of another time.
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The B Poems published by Poets Wear Prada, 2016. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.
These gravestones are shaped the way every avalanche
wants to enter the Earth –first as a single doorstep
then the rush though the rocks you listen for
are already moons helping you find the door
for holding on while the light under you
becomes another shadow made from wood
lays down as a room that cannot change its mind
is filled with cracked lips, the cold and end over end
the strong corners, the kisses that made it here.
For a few hours every night the floor
slows and the room cuts back
quieted, begins its descent
the way a dead lake is filled
with shoreline –the rug
is used to boards that stay wet
though it’s an iron bed
breaking in half where a pillow
once filled with seabirds
still clings to the other side
before it opens –it takes time
but the floor has to be washed
every night just to hear the dress
touching down, folding over the mop
the rotting wooden handle.
Your face is covered with paper now
held in place by its words for sky
and wind –a simple love note
can keep the rain away
let you read forever in the dark
though it tastes from the salt
still on your lips –all those years
soaking up this hillside
till nothing was left to open
except over your cheeks
you have all the air you need
in the corners not yet grass.
You sleep with the coat buttoned
and though your eyes are closing
the sleeves cling by listening
sure her favorite dress
is somewhere in this room
no longer morning, named
as if these walls once were stone
and what you hear
is losing speed, altitude –the bed
knows all about how an underground cave
stays open, kept trapped to survive
as a whisper not a whisper anymore.
You wait at a fence though the yard
no longer moves –all this air
and not one mouthful for these dead
left in the open where each leaf
is handed over as the loss
that was the one too many
and from the same gate, half wood
half kept open as those slow climbing turns
that never make it back, forget how
to fall from moonlight, make room
for more wood and these dead
feeling their way down hand over hand.
Don Mager’s chapbooks and volumes are To Track The Wounded one, Glosses, That Which is Owed to Death, Borderings, Good Turns, The Elegance of the Ungraspable, Birth Daybook, Drive Time, Russian Riffs. He is retired and was Mott University Professor of English at Johnson C. Smith University where is also served as Dean of the College of Arts and letters. As well as a number of scholarly articles, he has published over 200 poems and translations from German, Czech and Russian. In the 1970s he published articles and review on Gay Liberation. He lives in Charlotte, NC with his partner of 36 years. They have three sons and two granddaughters.
Us Four Plus Four (New Orleans University Press) is an anthology of translations from eight major Soviet-era Russian poets. It is unique because the tracks almost half a century of their careers by simply placing the poems each wrote to one of more of the others in chronological order. The 85 poems document one of the most fascinating conversations in poems produced by any group of poets in any language or time period. From poems of infatuation and admiration to anger and grief and finally deep tribute, this anthology with its preface by Richard Howard invites readers into the unfolding of such inimitable creative forces as Anna Akhmatova, Boris Pasternak, Marina Tsvetaeva and Osip Mandel’shtam.
February Journal: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Sly with ice, beneath satin shrouds, the
predawn roads lurk. They want sun to lie
low. They want clouds to hug thick mittens
across the tops of trees. They want fog
to blow egg-white froth into squinting
eyes of headlights. Dustings of powdered
sugar sweeten sidewalk treacheries.
Hardened glazes seal cold inside locked
car doors and keyholes. When dawn’s small gray
pokes out to sniff the air before its
caution creeps from the horizon, roads,
sidewalks, blind lights and key slots, frozen
in time and poised to snap, join forces
conspiring to hide skids, spins and falls.
May Journal: ∞∞ Saturday, May 11, 2013
The sparse grass pad of dirt sips just the right
amount of warmth. When the moment’s ripe,
it coughs up low flying Miner Bees
from sieve-like pencil holes. They are old
friends come back to visit, so ropes of
gold Lady Banks’ roses call to their
gold tufted manes: come cuddle with us
and drift on our waves of afternoon
stupor. Sunlight sprinkles swirls of gold
midges in mist sprays above their heads.
It looks deeply through the greening trees
to the west horizon and decides
for now in the goodness of good time
their rendezvous must wait awhile—still.
September Journal: Friday, September 27, 2013
Yellow Jackets zoom vertically
from their hole. Gold glints on shafts of sun
are their sole presence to consciousness.
Wide enough for a paw to reach down, the
hole gapes black. The mower rumbles past
on its drive shaft. Swaths of leaf mulch stuff
its new white bag. It watches for frogs
to dive for the creek. It sees no fight
in their flight. A mandible clamps down
on the glove. Its stinger drills to the
knuckle. Another grabs the shirt and stabs
the neck. Skin behind the knee takes a
hit. The mower dives up the fresh mown
hill through the back gate. It too is flight.
November Journal: Saturday, November 2, 2013
Yellow’s bullish herds of grandeur tramp
through china closets of Willow Oaks
and Sycamores. They trample the hems
of the wind’s skittish chill-gusting skirts.
They spin like giant mythic butterflies
flocking for their mythic southbound flights.
Beneath Hickories and Sweetgums, they
drift in billows for puppies to pounce
and roll in. The deck view looks away
and looking back, well, here, in flapping
sheets like a sail, it is, face to face,
yellow. Yellow clips a shoulder, and
like a canary swooping down with
tiny claws, yellow nests in the hair.
Laboni Saif, lives in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has completed graduation on English Literature. She loves poetry and books and sometimes write poem and article . In leisure she likes to read books and spend lovely time with her family. Her poems have been published in Tuck magazine, Inventives magazine, and in an anthology. Her articles have been published in Tuck magazine and Women Chapter English.
The Waiting Room
In the waiting room of school,
Gossips are on its high.
Women engaged in domestic topics,
Men's topics are political.
Kids are on the classroom,
Learning new lessons.
In the waiting room of school,
I am sitting in a corner,
Holding an old newspaper in hand,
Looking at the pages with oscitation,
Listening their gossip with attention.
Although wanting with heart and soul
To join them in gossip.
Because, I know how once,
They were mesmerized with my words!
Well, its enough,
I can nomore hold back
I stood up from the chair
And walked toward them
Nobody is noticing me
As if I am being unsighted.
Being a little surprised,
I halt in their middle
With a raised voice
I greeted them all
But nobody is giving any reply !
As I am thinking about the reason
I heard one of them is regretting
About my sudden demise.
With a big sigh,
I left the waiting room of school
Before leaving I went to the classroom,
Where kids are busy with their task
Among them, one is my own part
Though she is not noticing me
I am standng on her back.
With a heart rending cry
I threw a question toward heaven
Why so cruel the creator is,
That He set me apart?
Goodbye the waiting room,
I will never be back.
In the fear
of losing eyesight,
looking at your ways--unwinking.
For the thirst of eyes shall not be met
in one lifetime,
or a few lifetimes.
To stare at your eyes,
a millennium is so short a time.
Legs are getting motionless!
Well, I don't much care.
For the heart is still soggy
As it showers rain every now and then.
I might be getting older,
yet feelings are the same,
same is the passion.
Turn up for once and see,
How I welcome you,
how I embrace
with the warmth of my passionate love.
Born in India in 1981, Alok Mishra is a teacher and an award winning poet. He has had a keen interest in writing poems since a very young age. His poems have been published in several national and international magazines and global anthologies - Voices of Humanity Vol.4, O Sweetest Love: A Timeless Treasure, Creative Corner: Crafting Emotions, Dreams Anthology, Anthology of poems On Autism Awareness, etc. His poems are centered on love and life. He likes to write spiritual and romantic poems.
Tiny drops of heavenly rain,
Contacting our bodies with cool touch
Make my sensations shivered
And your bodice adhered to your beautiful breasts.
In the light icy shower,
I forget all,
Hugging your palpitating bosom
Whose warm touch relaxes my emotions.
©® Alok Mishra
From the top of the mountain
A river descends upon the earth;
As a white feathered fairy comes from heaven;
Jubilant in the nature from the birth.
Waves gladly dance in sun light,
While it flows on the ground;
As if a number of mermaids bright
Shake their half clothed limbs with anklets’ sound.
When its icy cold water
Embraces my naked hot frame,
Become my miseries sans power;
And no other mirth do I claim.
Towards the great ocean deep,
It flows day and night;
Resolution in the heart does it keep
To mingle with the infinite.
©® Alok Mishra
In another world,
Where no worries find place,
I will take your sweet memories on me,
Beautiful spring will come after long winter when the cruel fog lifts.
I am certain that my tearful sobs will get response from your side.
When all the mourning stars
With deeply sad moon are captured
In the pathetic oceanic web,
Definite, clear and eternal will our union be,
I am sure.
You, my love, take me not as a dreamer;
Our life will be real in the new world,
It is my assurance!!!
©® Alok Mishra
Mackenzie K. Wertman is currently a student at Full Sail University pursuing her bachelor’s degree for Creative Writing for Entertainment. Wertman is a full-time student focusing on her education and the betterment of her writing abilities. She has some prior set experience and has worked as an intern at Haven Entertainment in Los Angeles, California. During high school, she was an active member of her community and President of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). In her spare time, Mackenzie is an avid animal rescuer and enjoys watching her favorite movies. (email@example.com)
The Candle Light Inn
Room 207 at the Candle Light Inn was small and outdated. The room was freshly cleaned, but still unlike any Quality Inn. The shag carpet smelled of smoke and alcohol, mixing with the room’s overall scent of sex. The striped bedding was rough, dingy, and matched perfectly to the piss-colored wallpaper that was plastered around the room. The old-fashioned lamps that hung just above the beds hardly lit the compact bedroom, the only true source of light shinning from the open patio glass door in the corner of the room.
Olivia waited just within the doorway, her hand stroking the hideous yellow wall with a small sigh. “Another weekend gone,” she said, taking a step out into the small patio area as she joined Christopher at the table. She sat down on a shitty lawn chair straight across from him before she took a quick swig of her gin and smiled. “It was a fun… business trip.”
Christopher simply nodded, his eyes glazing over as he played with the ring on his finger. There was red lipstick speckled across his face and neck, a color that matched the plump cherry blossom lip shade of Olivia’s lips.
“Year seven,” she said, her eyebrows rising as she took another drink. “How time flies.”
“So it does.” Christopher cringed, his jaw locking and his fingers tightening around the piece of metal that he continued to twist around his finger. “Seven years...”
Olivia nodded, a lone finger reaching up to pull at her bleach blonde hair. “Why don’t we celebrate again?” She moved her foot under the table, just far enough so that it brushed against Christopher’s shoe before her toes ran up the length of his calf.
His eyes moved away from the ring for a moment, shaking his head and moving away from Olivia’s touch before this gaze returned to same wedding band.
“Okay then…” Olivia said, her foot moving to its proper location. She rose the glass to her lips and drank the rest of the gin down, her finger swiping away the lone drop that remained on her lips. “Have you heard from your wife?”
Christopher let go of his ring, his face hardening. “No,” he said. He rose from the shitty plastic chair, walking into the room but not out of sight. At the small minibar he made himself a concoction of alcoholic liquids before joining Olivia back out on the cement patio. “I think she knows,” he said, his voice barely above a whisper. “She has to know.”
“Chris…” she said. “We talked about this.”
“Yeah, but have you heard from Derek?”
“Yes.” Olivia nodded, raising from the table and walking into the doorway. “Don’t worry! They’re both still clueless, as always. ”
“Olivia…” he said, following her into the room. “We can’t do this anymore.”
Olivia rolled her eyes, falling back onto the lumpy mattress. “Here it comes,” she said. “I could tell this one was coming.”
“Cut the shit,” Christopher said. He ran his hand through his hair, his face breaking as he threw his empty class at the concrete outside the door. It shattered, pieces flying both inside the room and across the patio. “I’m serious! We can’t do this anymore. This was the last time. I love my wife. I love Alexis, and you love your husband.”
Olivia pushed herself into a sitting position on the bed, her face twisting and her fingers tightening over the fabric of the bedding. “You say that every year,” she said, raising an eyebrow. “And yet every year you still show up. We both do, because deep down we both know the truth. I don’t love him. You don’t love her. I have never loved Derek. I love you. I love you and this shitty hotel room.”
Christopher shook his head, looking at the outdated room and the decoration of shattered glass. “You love anything that is damaged.” He walked passed her and towards the mirror that stood just to her left. He paused before it, taking in his appearance for a moment before fixing himself into place. Christopher wiped away the makeup from his skin, tightened his tie, and soothed his hair. He turned to Olivia looking very much like the confident man that had entered Friday night, his shoulders locked and his face hard, his wedding ring in perfect view. “Goodbye, Olivia,” he said. “I hope I never see you again.”
Olivia smiled, standing from the bed and moving across the room. “Bye, baby,” she said. She kissed him softly against his lips, running her hand down his chest and placing the key to Room 207 into his shirt pocket. “I’ll see you next year.”
Amanda Brauchler is a literature student from New York who aims to use poetry as a means of trying to make some sort of sense of the human condition.
To Be Loved By A God
Holy hands touch sin-soaked skin,
lay flat on lovers backs.
as They smile
sun shines from behind Their lips.
The mortal boy hums happily into bedsheets.
To be loved by a God means to be loved
By something much larger than you can ever imagine;
More completely, more selflessly, more complexly
And a little more harshly.
Deities have no need for labels of
gender or sexual identity.
They do not understand, at first,
why Their lover is scared to hold Their hand in public.
Gods try not to get angry when Their lovers
shy away from Their touch.
Instead, They get angry at the others
who dare to use Their names to speak on
things they do not understand.
To be loved by a God means to be loved
more than you have words to explain.
They will laugh at your inability to fill
the gaps of your language.
There are some things
you just don’t need to say.
On the days that you don’t feel beautiful
They will paint portraits on your skin with Their lips.
For the first time in your life you will realize your worth.
Everything that you have ever hated about yourself
will become an offering to Them at your bedroom altar.
To be loved by a God means knowing
They will leave.
What business does a God have spending time
with a withering mortal?
But mortals will always wait naively by an open door
with fond smiles on their faces as they tell young people
about a kind of love that makes you believe
that you are something divine.
Cream and Sugar
I met Jesus in a coffee shop. I sat down across
from him and smiled. “Do you take your coffee black?”
I asked, trying to make polite conversation. “No, I need a lot of
cream and sugar,” he said as if he had said it a million times
before. “I don’t know why that surprises me,” I said. “Because
you think my Father and I are bitter. They all do,” he said.
“I don’t,” I said, “I never did.” He smiled. “That’s a first.
Do you have any questions? People always want to ask me questions.” “If
you wouldn’t mind,” I said, “I don’t want to interrupt your coffee
or intrude. Mostly I wanted to say hello.” He shook his head with a
large smile. “No, I don’t mind at all. I love to meet new people,” he said. “But
we are not strangers,” I said, “I have known you my whole life. I am
sure you’re the first person I ever knew.” He laughed, fully, with
his entire body. “You make a good point. In that case, you really shouldn’t be afraid
to ask me anything,” he said. “You make a good point,” I said. “Why do
people think you and your Father hate people like me?” He sighed
and took a long drink of his coffee. “That’s a difficult question and
I hope you know that it isn’t true. I thought I was so clear on
how much I love everyone.” “I know,” I said,
“I don’t blame you.” He smiled. “Are you a sinner?”
he asked. “Of course,” I said, “But so were you. My sin does not
erase all of my love.” He nodded. “You’re right, of course. Do you have any other
questions for me?” “A million and one,” I said, “There is not enough time in the world
to ask them all. Why did you die for us? Why weren’t you selfish? When
your Father said you had to die, were you angry? Do you ever feel like you’re burning
in your own skin, or is that just me? Do you weep for us when we make
mistakes? Do you have days when you just can’t get out of bed
too? I feel like I say ‘I’m sorry’ too much but can you please let me know
I’m doing something right?” He leans over the table and kisses my forehead
with a fading smile on his face. “You must be so sad. It’s me who
should be sorry,” he says. “Sir?” the barista asks. I turned to look
at her. “Who are you talking to?” she asked.
“An old friend,” I said, mostly to myself.
“I love you” and other declarations of war
You sit next to me on the train
close enough to look like friends
far enough to not get strange looks and you
lean over to whisper in my ear
you look so nice today.
I hiss back
we can’t afford your blasphemy.
You just laugh.
You have always been less careful than I.
At a coffee shop when we’re sat
across the table from each other
our hands reach for sugar and yours
lingers just a little too long next to mine
and I want to smack the smile off of your face
you don’t know what you are risking here this
is your first time out in the open you
have never known what it is to be hated for your love.
Being with you is knowing that any moment
could be our last and you
are not careful enough with that knowledge.
you hold hands with reckless abandon
kiss without care while I
make sure to check over our shoulders I
am starting to resent being the bodyguard for
everything we are.
At home when we are
finally alone you smile and press
kisses into my collarbone and you whisper
I love you
and I whisper
don’t say things like that.
and I wonder when you will stop
finding novelty in our hiding place.
Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his other half and mounds of snow. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Anitgonish Review, CV2, Scarlet Leaf Review, PRECIPICe, Existere, Windsor Review, Vallum, The Dalhousie Review, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.
39 Ballerinas and a Cordless Drill
gradations in the patchwork
my weeping crop duster eyes
and they formed a circle without a word
deep in the woods
graceful as walking sticks:
39 ballerinas and a cordless drill,
and the way they danced around the drill
you could tell it was a very special drill,
kicking their legs high in the air
like nylon rockets
with hips for thrusters
that no man would
His mother had this giant chandelier
hanging in what I guess they would call the
family room nowadays
in the front of the house
with a large bay
surrounded by chairs so uncomfortable
no one would ever sit in them
and a couch wrapped in plastic
so that even the most adventurous
of posteriors would slide right down
onto waiting white carpet
and I remember opening those books
for a school project
and seeing those pictures of the lynchings
in the American south
and how he looked at the pictures
then up to the chandelier
and saw the same thing
and how we never spoke about it
or sat in that room again
even though there were many
sleeping bag sleepovers
where you eat too much
and sleep too little
watching horror movies
where nothing goes well
Behind the Science
from the chesterfield
I walk across the room
and look behind
is constructed of paint
divides the rooms of a house
from one another.
But things are fluid:
and the shift.
like a fresh pair of socks.
I am the science
and you are behind
Pulling at my pigtails
from a past life.